Lizzie Murphy
Photo courtesy Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, N.Y.

First Base

Boston All-Stars, 1918-1935
American League All-Star Game, 1922
National League All-Star Game, 1928

In her prime, Lizzie Murphy, also known as "Spike," was billed as the Queen of Baseball, the best woman player in the country. She started her career at age 15, playing for amateur teams around her hometown of Warren, Rhode Island, before signing with the Providence Independents. From there she moved up the baseball ladder to a nationally known semi-pro team, Ed Carr's All-Stars of Boston (often called the Boston All-Stars).

The team played more than 100 games a summer, barnstorming all over New England and Canada. Lizzie wore the regulation uniform of the day: a peaked cap, a wool shirt, baggy pants, and thick stockings with stirrups. Unlike the men's uniforms, however, Lizzie's had her name--LIZZIE MURPHY--stitched across both the front and the back, so that the crowd would know that the player at first base was the woman they'd come to see.

The team's official stationery featured a picture of Lizzie, which some members of the press thought was exploiting the young woman. Owner Carr replied, "She swells attendance, and she's worth every cent I pay her. But most important, she produces the goods. She's a real player and a good fellow." Lizzie herself took advantage of the "novelty" of her gender, and supplemented her income selling postcards of herself between innings, sometimes making as much as $50 per game.

In 1922, the Boston Red Sox sponsored a charity game against a combination of New England and American League All-Stars. Lizzie was chosen to play first base, becoming the first woman to play for a major league team in an exhibition game. In 1928, she played in the National League All-Star game, becoming the first person--of any gender--to play for All-Star teams in each league. (She also played a game in the Negro League, covering first base for the Cleveland Colored Giants.)

After seventeen years of playing professional baseball, Lizzie Murphy retired in 1935.



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